Who Are You?

Personality has been studied for centuries, dating back to the crude techniques of phrenology, whereby personality characteristics were assessed based on the shape on an individual’s skull. Seeing as this form of measurement left much to be desired, it was eventually retired. Sir Francis Galton provided the world of psychologists with another approach, under the assumption of the lexical hypothesis. This was done by looking at adjectives in the English language which described personality. This was later refined to by Thurstone to sixty words, and then eventually to a five factor model, which was then operationalized by McCrae and Costa (Goldberg, 1993).

Today, the internet is filled with a multitude of personality theories, which have led to an even greater volume of personality tests. One particularly interesting personality test, called “16 Personalities,” is based on Carl Jung’s personality theory, which was later adapted by Katharine Cook Briggs who helped popularized the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This led to the development of what are now called “type indicators,” based on four possible pairs of personality traits: introversion-extraversion, intuition-sensing, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceiving. Therefore, in just ten short minutes, you can receive a wealth of information about your particular personality type and the way in which it affects your friendships, relationships, work place, career aspirations, parenting style, and more. The clear question however, is “how accurate can an online personality test really be?”

I myself was skeptical, though being that I always loved online tests of all sorts, I decided to give it a try, and let me tell you I was quite surprised. From a few simple questions measured on a Likert scale, this test seemed to know everything about me. From my strengths and weaknesses, to the careers I would enjoy the most, and the type of people I tend to surround myself with, this online personality test almost seemed to know be better than I know myself. I immediately started making everyone around me take the test as well, to see if it was accurate with all sorts of different personalities. After my friends were not as impressed with their results as I was with mine, I soon realized that it was because the more extreme you fall on the various traits, the better representation the test can generate of your personality. On the other hand, if you fall in the middle range on many of the traits, you tend to get more mixed and inaccurate results.

Overall, while I would not suggest basing major life decisions on results obtained from any online test, it was quite interesting to read about the theory-based value of the test development, and what it had to say about me in return.

(If you are curious for yourself, here is the link to the test: https://www.16personalities.com/)


Goldberg, L.R. (1993). “The structure of phenotypic personality traits.” American Psychologist 48 (1): 26–34.

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